beachfront properties, tells Real Estate Business’ Francis Wilkins how defining a core market has worked for him
Michael Kollosche is, above all, a specialist. His tight focus – on the prestige homes and high-end beachfront properties of Mermaid Beach’s ‘Millionaire’s Row’ – underpins both his success and his reputation as the Gold Coast’s leading authority on high-end real estate. In 1995, Kollosche went straight from school into the property industry. Based at Ray White Broadbeach, he has been named the Ray White Group’s leading agent internationally and been awarded Queensland’s Marketing Excellence Award for the past three years. In March, he was named Queensland Ray White’s number two residential salesperson, while Ray White Broadbeach also took out the number two spot for residential sales offices.
“The difference in the way I run my business is that I have identified a core market, stuck specifically to that core market and very rarely ventured outside of that,” he says.
“The biggest downfall for most agents is they take the ‘shotgun’ approach where they list all sorts of properties, all with different price points and all from different areas.
“It sends a mixed message to the marketplace and it just gets a lot harder to remain consistent with your database and to send out relevant, informative updates to clients,” he says.
“I spend a lot of time in my core trade area and talk to a lot of people – I’m always in their face. I can also look at my area and pretty much tell you every transaction that has happened over the last five to seven years – the owners, buyers, sellers and details of the property.”
With such formidable market knowledge, it’s not surprising that Kollosche currently enjoys around 80 per cent of market share in his core market, although he has at times held even more than that.
“I was involved in nearly every transaction for a few years and went into every listing unopposed,” he says. “That was simply because we branded ourselves [as specialists] and we did our utmost to achieve the best outcomes for the sellers.”
The database: key to client retention
“Market knowledge is really important to instill value into the product when you are selling it,” Kollosche explains. “It’s very easy for someone to stand in front of a property and just say, OK, John Smith is prepared to pay me X for this property but not to educate him about why he has to pay more for it”.
“If you are achieving the best prices in your marketplace, people will come. You will get a lot of referral business if you are doing right by your seller and, obviously, by your buyers as well, because they will become your sellers down the track.”
The key to securing these ‘clients for life’, of course, is the client database and targeted, regular, informative emails and market updates sent to the database are vital to client retention, according to Kollosche.
“Clients want to know, especially at the top end, what is happening and it needs to be delivered in an informative way,” he says. “They also need to know that you are working for them and working to get the best outcomes for them in the marketplace.”
Social media, way of the future
Kollosche is an active user of social media. He posts news of listings, sales, auctions and openings via Twitter; he uploads property images to his Facebook page; and there are high quality videos of his properties on YouTube.
He estimates, however, that only about 20 per cent of his database are able to use all of these social media tools.
“Over time,” he says, “that will change and people will start to adapt as they realise it is part of the future – and that ties into how you manage and use your database”
“There is probably more [social media activity] in the case of the lower priced properties, with the younger generation, but for the higher priced properties, we are finding people aren’t quite that tech savvy at the moment.”
“You can choose to not accept those things and to not train yourself to use them, but if you don’t adapt you’ll be left behind.”
St anding out from the pack
Kollosche enjoys a high profile in the real estate world, but what does he do to make himself stand out from the pack with clients?
“Obviously you need a really high standard of marketing materials,” he says. “You have to have market knowledge that is second to none, and you’ve got to have a database of buyers that your competition can’t access so you’re not just relying on press advertising to draw the necessary volume of buyers”.
“It’s also your approach. You have to empathise with people, especially at the property high end. As long as you’re confident, professional in your dealings and not arrogant, you’ll always get the business”.
“Profile is obviously very important as it will bring a lot of credibility and extra business to you,” he says. “It does come with its pitfalls though”.
“We do a lot of press advertising but obviously we don’t put out a lot of PR stuff about ourselves; it’s more about the property, the market, the results, the informative stuff – this is what people want to read.”